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As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
On the outbreak of the First World War, Albert's beloved horse 'Joey' is sold to the Cavalry by his Father. After being sent to France, in a bid to survive, Joey has an unexpected journey across war torn Europe. Albert enlists in the British Army, and is wounded during the Battle of the Somme. Whilst recovering in Hospital, he learns of a Horse, found in no mans land.
With War Horse the usual bloodbath and gory murder scenes are ditched in favour of a genuine story that manages to provoke passion and deep emotion in the audience
When it was announced that Steven Spielberg was directing a film adaptation of War Horse, fans across the UK were a little apprehensive.
After all, the stage play and book were massive hits, so the film would have a lot to live up to. Early reviews are now saying that this film will be in the running for major Academy Awards — a statement that seems accurate after watching the film.
Based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, War Horsedepicts the story of Albert Narracott, played by Jeremy Irvine, and his treasured horse Joey in Britain where World War I is about to begin. Joey is sold to the cavalry by Albert's alcoholic father and finds himself trapped in the devastating fields of war while Albert is trying to find him.
Spielberg finds a balance between heartfelt emotion, especially from seeing the war through Joey's eyes and the people he meets along the way, and the tragic problems the main characters face, for example the separation between Joey and Albert after we have watched them bond and connect in the first part of the film. It is those emotional contrasts that Spielberg translates onto the screen well, perhaps the best one being the contrast between the overall setting of the devastation and trauma of World War I and the love between the main character and his horse portrayed throughout the film.
Although some of the cast are newcomers to cinema, they put on a stellar performance. Jeremy Irvine perfectly portrays on screen the character's determination and devotion to find his horse. Practically unknown before this film, his performance in War Horse has now made him one to watch. The rest of the cast include Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, Tom Hiddleston, and Niels Arestrup.
War Horse is the perfect film to settle down with the family for Christmas. It is a touching, beautiful depiction of the relationship between a boy and his horse, and of life in the countryside during World War I. The usual bloodbath and gory murder scenes are ditched in favour of a genuine story that manages to provoke passion and deep emotion in the audience, and overall this fits into the beauty of the narrative.
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